November 12, 2006

Joe Biden in 2008?

Umm, no. Please. As Krugman reminds us in this piece about the economic populism of the congressional freshmen class:

... Last week’s populist wave, among other things, vindicates the populist direction that Al Gore took in the closing months of the 2000 campaign. But will this wave be reflected in the actual direction of the Democratic Party?

Not necessarily. Quite a few sitting Democrats have shown themselves nearly as willing as Republicans to bow to corporate interests. Consider the vote on last year’s draconian bankruptcy bill. Mr. Lieberman voted for cloture, cutting off debate and ensuring the bill’s passage; then he voted against the bill, a meaningless gesture that let him have it both ways. Thirteen other Democratic senators also voted for cloture, including Joe Biden, who has just announced his candidacy for president. ...

I've no desire to support anyone who voted for cloture on that appalling bankruptcy legislation as the next presidential nominee. None. And now Feingold is out. God, I've been totally sucked in to the vortex of the next election cycle already. It hasn't been even a week since the last one. Hopeless.

Al, a little help? Please? I don't really want to have the 'good fortune' of being so bored by all our candidates that I feel no motivation whatever to drop everything at some point and help their campaign.

Posted by natasha at November 12, 2006 11:14 PM | US Politics | Technorati links |
being so bored by all our candidates that I feel no motivation whatever
What, you're not inspired by Hillary and Barak?... Posted by: Barry Leiba at November 13, 2006 05:43 AM

It took a while before they finally realized it, but the middle class has finally noticed its predicament. Stagnant income with rising health care costs.
Rovian red herrings distracted them for a time—flag burning etc.— but now that time is over. Not that the Democrats will sieze the chance, mind you, but they just might this time. Call my saying so another triumph of hope over experience.

Posted by: skip at November 13, 2006 05:52 AM

I am astonished about the lack of attention a potential Gore 2008 run is getting. Hello, the guy one a national election the last time he ran but was SHAFTED! In essence, he is the only person capable of derailing the Hillary Express. He was right on the war (she wasn't), and would have no problem fund raising or with name recognition. Plus he has won widespread acclaim recently for being a visionary and leader regarding the environment.

Posted by: MinorRipper at November 13, 2006 07:29 AM

While Gore winning in 2008 would complete the circle, as it were, he still doesn't seem exactly excited about the idea.

Edwards doesn't seem too bad, and is a lot more reality-based than Clinton or Obama. The cycle's young, hoewever, and a lot can happen between now and when 2008 starts...

Posted by: palamedes at November 13, 2006 02:13 PM

Barry - You've got it spot on. Obama is an inspiring orator, but legislator? Not impressed so far. Clinton, erm, I don't even want to go there.

Posted by: natasha at November 13, 2006 03:08 PM

I'm not addressing the suitability of Senators Obama or Clinton here, just the "legislator" comment:

I should remind folks that the president is not a legislator; she's an executive. It's the CEO of the US. It might well be that a poor legislator turns out to be a fine executive.

On the other hand, I'll also point out that JFK was the only president in the lifetime of just about everyone reading this who didn't have executive experience before becoming president. We've had governors (Roosevelt, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush-43) and former VPs (Truman, Johnson, Nixon, Bush-41). Even Eisenhower — General of the Army is an executive management position.

Many senators have tried. In the last eighty years, only Kennedy succeeded... and we might say it was money, in the end, that drove the success.

Know any good governors? I think it's a bit early for mine: Spitzer was just elected last week.

Posted by: Barry Leiba at November 13, 2006 06:53 PM

Barry - I realize that it's a little different, being an executive as opposed to being a legislator. Yet when I look at the positions taken by a legislator, both what their ultimate votes were and in the case of the 109th Congress, their willingness to support their caucus in a filibuster of policies I'd consider it unacceptable of them to refuse to veto as an executive. If someone wants to be a leader, they need to be able to take a stand. If someone wants to be the head of a political party, they need to be able to promote and not undermine it for cheap points.

Harry Reid, whom I'll use for this particular example though not because I want him to run for pres, doesn't agree with the mainstream Democratic position on abortion. But he doesn't decry the rest of the party as hopeless extremists, insult or otherwise tunnel under Democrats' standing over it. He doesn't repeat Republican talking points when he speaks about his own caucus as I've heard Obama do. He doesn't feel the need to hold the more liberal members of the caucus at arms' length as Clinton does, even though he's a bit more conservative than she is in some ways. He's a team player, they aren't, imo.

And this is something that I think people miss. A leader should in many ways be the consummate team player. Someone who understands that they undermine their base of power to their own detriment, that the happier their coalition is, the more they can do and the more help they'll have doing it. I don't want to think for a moment that I'm more loyal to the Democratic party than the Democratic party's own nominee for the highest office in the land, because that's just sodding depressing.

Consider that even though Bush has worked very hard to present himself as a moderate, he doesn't insult or show aversion to even the far right of his party. He doesn't try to demonstrate his moderation by beating up on them, but rather by insisting independent of anything that he's a moderate.

So basically, what I want in a nominee is this: Have some guts, be your own side's strongest advocate, be inspiring.

Find me a candidate like that, I'll volunteer for them starting the day after they announce. Otherwise, I'll yawn my way through the primary and support whoever comes out on top in their position as standard-bearer for the Democrats. Having picked my side in this, I'll stand with it, but I damn well expect our officials to do the same.

And yeah, when he's been around a while longer, I think a lot of people have high hopes for Spitzer.

Posted by: natasha at November 14, 2006 01:50 PM